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Some interesting PLM/Wilson notes from around WWI

by Magonista Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002 at 6:21 AM

from "Anarchism & the Mexican Revolution: The Political Trials of Ricardo Flores Magon in the United States" by Colin M. MacLachlan

"Under the circumstances, the PLM [Partido Liberal Mexicano] could not fail to draw the attention of the Justice Department. The intolerant and repressive atmosphere that resulted from the country's entry into the war had been predicted and even approved by President Wilson. Accordin to the editor of the New York Worl, the President commented that the American people would become intolerant of leftist groups; indeed, in order to fight and win, one must be ruthless and brutal. Wilson predicted that such sentiments would penetrate 'every fiber of our national life,' from Congress to the courts, from local police departments to the man on the street. In a similar fashion, the socialist convention held in St. Louis recognized that the times had grown dangerous and understood that war provided a possible pretext and socially acceptable reason to attack the country's democratic institutions.

Keenly aware of how difficult it would be to marshal public opinion in favor of a distant war, President Wilson viewed any opposition with alarm. ... All the authority and influence of the presidential office would have to be applied to rally support. ...

After the United States entered the war, the President grew even more concerned with national security. His fear that a truculent working class might undermine industrial production and hinder military expansion approached paranoia. With the assistance of George Creel's Committee on Public Information ... Wilson hoped to create a climate of public opinion that would stimulate the unqualified support he believed necessary for pro-war politics. Although he and Creel publicly denounced vigilantism, they encouraged the emotional environment that made it possible. ... He did little to discourage the serious constitutional violatoins committed by public organizations and judicial authorities at every level. Consequently, a wave of patriotic intimidation swept the nation."

"Anarchism & the Mexican Revolution: The Political Trials of Ricardo Flores Magon in the United States" by Colin M. MacLachlan. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, 1991.
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